Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Darwin: The Fossil Evidence

In response to my recent essay on Evolution and the Fate of the Church, one Christian friend responded, “Asking intelligent people to ignore sound evidence of [evolution] is nonsense and damaging.”

Who’s ignoring the evidence?  Let’s just focus on the most critical area - the fossil record - and the testimony from leading evolutionists. If this most direct form of verification fails to provide evidence of gradual, inter-phyla evolution (macroevolution), the theory is seriously impaired. If I claim that I had made thousands of transactions with a certain bank, and the bank records every transaction, but my transactions cannot be found, it is safe to conclude that I hadn't made the alleged transactions. However, I could charge, "foul play." However, the evolutionist cannot claim "foul play" in regards to the fossil record. So we are back to the "transactions":

• “The impression that microevolution is limited in its scope is confirmed by the comments of Wesson and others to the effect that the fossil record gives no good examples of macroevolution.” (John C. Lennox, God’s Undertaker, 110).

• “The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [should] be enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such graduated organic chain.” (Darwin, The Origin of Species)

• “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as a trade secret of palaeontology…The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with the idea that they gradually evolved:

1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they disappear…

2. Sudden appearance. In any local area a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and “fully formed.” (Stephen Jay Gould, 111)”

•  “We are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species, but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time.” (Palaeontologist David Raup, Field Museum of Natural History; Lennox, 111)

• : “We palaeontologists have said that the history of life supports [the story of gradual adaptive change] knowing all the while it does not.” (Niles Eldredge, American Museum of Natural History; 111)

•  ”I tried in vain to document examples of the kind of slow directional change we all thought ought to be there every since Darwin told us that natural selection should leave precisely such a tell-tale signal…I found instead that once species appear in the fossil record they tend not to change very much at all. Species remain imperturbably, implacably resistant to change as a matter of course – often for millions of years.” (Eldredge; 113)

• “All Paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.” (S.J.Gould)

• “No real evolutionist…uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation.” (Mark Ridley)

•  “I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.” His response when asked why he didn’t include anything about transitional forms in his book, Evolution: “If I knew any, I certainly would have included them.” (Dr. Colin Patterson, British Museum of Natural History)

• : “It is a mistake to believe that even one fossil species…can be demonstrated to have been ancestral to another.” (Dr. Gareth J. Nelson, American Museum of Natural History)

Many paleontologists now concede that we already have a pretty complete picture of the fossil record. New findings are merely repetitions of the prior findings. In other words, no big surprises are anticipated at this point. Forget finding the millions of "intermediate forms."  If the evolutionists themselves remain skeptical about the supporting fossil evidence, why should not the Christian also remain skeptical?

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